Q. Why is Hulu having so many technical problems lately? I haven’t been able to login several times this month and when I do, it seems to buffer a lot. What’s up with it? It used to work really well. — Yardley, Baltimore.
Yardley, you didn’t mention if you are a subscriber to Hulu’s live streaming service, or just the Video on Demand plan. But all live streaming services, from DIRECTV Now to Sling TV to PlayStation Vue to, yes, Hulu Live, have had technical issues from time to time.
The technology behind live streaming to a sizable audience is still relatively new and often victim to abrupt changes in viewership. In short, the more people who watch any given event, the more strain it places on the servers designated to distribute the stream.
That’s why the live stream of a popular show or sporting event will sometimes experience technical snafus such as buffering or freezing when more people tune in. The servers are not prepared to handle the unexpected traffic.
As I said, all live streaming services are struggling with this issue, and are working on new technologies that will improve the distribution of Internet-based programming in the future.
That said, Hulu has had more problems than usual this month. The live streamer suffered a major meltdown during the end of this month’s Super Bowl and it suffered three straight nights of widespread login problems a week ago.
Hulu has not publicly disclosed why this has been a particularly bad month, but it should be noted that the company recently said its subscription numbers have risen significantly in recent months. It’s quite feasible that Hulu is having trouble handling the increase in viewers.
Hulu, which is co-owned by Disney, Fox, Comcast and Time Warner, and therefore is well funded, will undoubtedly find a solution to its most recent technical troubles.
But like other live streamers, Hulu will need to invest more to find solutions to all the technical problems that currently keep streaming from becoming a serious alternative to cable and satellite.
While consumers are fed up with the rising monthly costs of cable and satellite TV, they won’t stand for their picture continually having issues, particularly during ‘can’t-miss’ shows and games.
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— Phillip Swann